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Remarks to the Members of the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress

October 27, 1964

Ladies and gentlemen:

We have just had a meeting with the membership of the CIAP group and discussed the relations in this hemisphere and we have found the developments to be quite encouraging. Harmony exists. There is a feeling of friendship between the neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. We regularly have these meetings.

The CIAP group has just completed a country-by-country review of the social and economic progress that the various individual nations have made. Eleven months ago, the first week that I was in office, I took somewhat far-reaching steps to overhaul the machinery and to strengthen the personnel in the agencies that dealt with our neighbors in this hemisphere.

At the end of the fiscal year, all the money that had been appropriated had been allocated. Red tape had been cut. Decisions were no longer being delayed. The watchword of the Administrator, Mr. Mann, who had the authority of the White House and the State Department and the Alliance for Progress all wrapped up under one hat, was such that he could make a decision, and did.

So we got out our allocations and made our decisions. We proceeded on the premise that we could not really have a successful relationship that we could take great pride in, unless we successfully attacked the ancient enemies of mankind in this hemisphere-poverty, disease, ignorance, illiteracy, ill health, and so forth; that we must have land reform; that we must have fiscal reform; we must have tax reform; we must have budget reform.

We have watched with great interest the improvement that has been made in these various fields. But I also concluded--and my view, I think, was shared by Secretary Rusk and Mr. Mann--that you could take all the gold in Fort Knox and it would just go down the drain in Latin America, unless the private investor, upon which our whole system is based, free enterprise, could have some confidence that he could make his investment and it would not be confiscated and that he would have an opportunity to make a fair and a reasonable return.

So we worked very closely with a number of leading businessmen and we worked very closely with some of the great thinkers, some of whom are represented here this morning, in trying to make it possible to make private investment increase and also make it safer. In 1963 we made investments of around $60 million in other countries. In 1964, at the rate we are going, it will be over $100 million, almost twice as much. So, progress is being made.

We have had a good many momentary difficulties. We had our water cut off at Guantanamo, but we solved that without a major debacle. We had some difficulties in Panama, but with patience and judgment we solved that without a major catastrophe. We had problems in Brazil and now we are working very closely with them to give them major assists. We had an election in Chile and that has been decided. Nowhere, really, have the Communists taken over any governments, or have any governments gone communistic since Cuba in 1959.

In retrospect, as we look over the 12 months of our relations with our neighbors in this hemisphere, we can look at them with confidence, with respect, and with pride. And now I am going to ask Mr. Mann to make a full and detailed report on these developments to me quickly, shortly.

I am going to ask Dr. Sanz here with CIAP to realize that we maintain an open door policy and that that door there to the President's office is always open to him and to his group for suggestions, for criticisms, for ideas. Because we do have a very genuine respect not only for the independence of our fellow men in this hemisphere but for their lofty and worthy desires to achieve for their people a better standard of living and a better way of life;

And because so many people helped us develop our economy and to become a strong and mighty nation politically and economically and educationally, we feel a debt of gratitude and we want to, in part, repay it by working with our other neighbors. Because the stronger they are, the stronger America is.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke about 2:15 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Thomas C. Mann, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, United States Coordinator for the Alliance for Progress, and Special Assistant to the President for Latin America, to Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, and to Carlos Sanz de Santamaria, chairman, Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress (CIAP).

The text of Mr. Mann's report, dated October 30, 1964, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 51, p. 706).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to the Members of the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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